Robert Tabern has been editor of the Inter-County Leader since July 2022.

Raised in the north suburbs of Chicago, Robert discovered a passion for journalism while attending Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois, writing for the student newspaper and hosting shows on the school’s radio and cable television stations. One of his first jobs was running camera for sporting events at the local cable company.

In 1997, Robert moved to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to attend Arkansas State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. During college, he worked on-air and behind the scenes at several local radio stations, including KASU-FM, KDRS-AM, and KLQZ-FM. Robert also served as a producer for three years at KAIT-TV, the ABC affiliate serving portions of Northeast Arkansas, Southeast Missouri, and West Tennessee. It was there he covered such events as the Westside Middle School Shooting in March 1998, the tribulations of Y2K, and September 11th.

After college, Robert held various media and communication roles here in the Midwest, including producing and reporting for WKJG-TV (NBC) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, senior news/web producer at WDJT-TV (CBS) in Milwaukee, and assignment editor/travel reporter at WTMJ-TV (NBC) in Milwaukee. Robert also worked in communications for the City of Oak Creek’s police and fire departments. More recently, he served as operations coordinator for a travel company in suburban Milwaukee, and then as a passenger development director at a railroad in Washburn County.

In his spare time, Robert enjoys traveling around the country and the globe. He is also a “national park buff”, and one of just a handful of people who have visited all 429 National Park Service units in the United States. Robert co-founded and currently manages a 501(c)(3) non-profit railroad organization called the Midwest Rail Rangers, which provides historical programs on trains across a seven-state region. He also is on the Board of Directors of the St. Croix Falls Historical Society where he edits the quarterly “Antiquarian” newsletter. Robert has also written and published more than a dozen railroad history books and rail route guides. He also enjoys photography and have had some of his work shown in professional galleries across the United States.

Robert, who currently lives on Big Lake in Eureka Center, Wisconsin, is only the sixth editor in the Inter-County Leader’s 91-year history. He is passionate and committed to covering community festivals, sporting events, government, schools, spot breaking news, and much more. Robert says, “Most of the television news we get here in Barron, Burnett, Polk, and Washburn Counties come from stations between 70 and 100 miles away in many cases. And then, crews only come here when there is something really negative going on. I love Northwest Wisconsin… and want to put a spotlight on the good going on in our towns.”

Robert follows in the footsteps of earlier Inter-County Leader Editors, including Bennie Bye (1933-1953), Romain Brandt (1953-1958), Elmer Haumant (1958-1963), Bernice Asper (1963-1983), and Gary King (1983-2022).

Sarah Beth Radomsky started as a freelance writer for the Leader in June 2022 after walking in and asking if the paper was hiring writers at the prompting of her father to “do something” with her writing talent. She was hired as an official reporter for the paper in August 2022 after “writing too much to be a ‘stringer’” – a term for someone who only writes occasionally. Untrained in traditional journalism, Sarah Beth grew up with a love of creative writing and a passion for learning about the stories of others through biographies and history.

Having grown up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Sarah Beth enjoys nature and has developed a passion for the arts and literature from her parents. Her mother was a writer and editor, and her father was an electrical engineer, who also studied the arts. Several supportive teachers also encouraged her to write and develop a passion for history as well.

After moving to Minnesota to attend the University of St. Catherine, she pursued studies that focused heavily on psychology, philosophy, social work, Spanish and the arts, earning a degree in applied ethics, with a minor in social welfare. During that time, she met her husband while also beginning what would start a career in mental health services.

Sarah Beth also went on to start a family, and now has seven children, one with special needs. She and her family moved frequently as independent contractors for eight years, living in the Kansas City area, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and later Central Asia, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where she learned Russian. She currently farms with her family on 25 acres in the village of Frederic. Sarah Beth has also worked as a mentor in the past, and is also a certified parent peer specialist.

In her spare time, she enjoys photography, especially landscapes involving clouds, farms and nature. You might find her at the beach with her children looking for treasures in the sand or, more likely, reporting on a local event near you with some children in tow, enjoying the activities with them. She also loves her local church community, Crosswalk, and spends a lot of time involved with activities and friends there. Of all the places she and her family have lived, she says country life and living is her favorite, and “This is where it is at.”

Jeanne Alling is a special correspondent for the Inter-County Leader when it comes to various agriculture events in Polk and Burnett Counties. You can read her “Ag Connection” reports several times per month in the Leader.

Jeanne grew up on a dairy farm near Centuria, and then went on to attend UW-Madison in Dairy Science and the Farm and Industry Sort Course. She also attended UW-River Falls to be certified to teach agricultural education. Jeanne has taught ‘ag ed’ at the Ondossagon, Ashland, Shell Lake, and Unity Schools for over 30 years. She also subbed in ‘ag ed’ at Turtle Lake and Luck Schools.

When not reporting on ‘ag news’ for the Leader, Jeanne is extremely active in the community as a member of the Polk County Agriculture Advocates, Unity Lions Club, Roundabouts HCE Club, Polk County HCE officer, Polk County Fair Board, Turtle Lake FFA Alumni, South Milltown 4H leader, South Milltown Schoolhouse Foundation, Polk County 4H Leaders Federation, Centuria Memory Days committee, Advisor for the Unity Leo’s Club, and lifetime member of National FFA Alumni and Supporters. As Jeanne says, “If it’s for kids, I will support it.”

In her spare time, Jeanne loves to take photos and write, raise a vegetable garden for her family, and sell produce with homemade canned goods at the Balsam Lake Farmers Market. Her husband, Al, supports Jeanne’s community involvement. Her daughters, Johanna and Jena, get involved too with service programs. Jeanne also loves taking care of her grandson, Josiah.

Jeanne says, “Family is important to me, traditions are important, and serving others by writing about area events and people is important to me too. Having people become more ag-literate is my way of advocating agriculture in our community.”

Jeanne has been writing for the Leader for many years, but officially joined our team as a special correspondent with her “Ag Connection” reports in August 2022.

Growing up in Eau Claire on a steady diet of Joseph Wambaugh novels and episodes of Police Story, Neal never considered any future other than becoming a cop. Upon graduating from Eau Claire Memorial High School, he joined the Marines to prepare for a career in law enforcement. After an eight-year hitch that included assignments at the White House and travels around the world, Neal landed a job in Southern California as a police officer.

During a twenty-seven-year career Neal worked as a patrol cop, field training officer, member of SWAT, hostage negotiator, narcotics investigator, gang enforcement specialist, and supervisor of a homicide unit. Along the way he earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University and attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Since his retirement Neal has enjoyed a successful second career as a creative writer, penning four crime fiction novels published by Macmillan. His books have been translated into Portuguese, Finnish, and Hungarian, and three have been published as audiobooks.  In his novels, Neal tackles the serious issues that face American policing, providing the reader with an untainted insider’s view. His novel Benefit of the Doubt spent two months on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list, and The Burden of Truth was named by Booklist as “one of the finest reading experiences of the year.”  Neal is currently finishing up his fifth novel, which will be published in the fall of 2025.

In 2017, Neal was elated to finally return to the Northwoods on a permanent basis. He and his wife Olga live in Siren, along with their devoted labrador Roquefort (like the cheese), who prefers to be called Rocky. Neal and Olga have four children, ages 19-32, spread out across the country who still love them enough to occasionally visit; however, demands for grandchildren remain unmet.

With his experience in technical and creative writing and a lifetime appreciation for the critical role played by local journalism, Neal is excited to join the Inter-County Leader team. He looks forward to reporting on local events of interest that highlight the uniqueness of the towns and people throughout the region.

The eldest of three children, Roz Lundquist was raised in Polk County, WI, where she attended high school in Frederic. She has always had a passion for storytelling, reading, and writing—a passion which continues to this day. With the support of her family, friends, and educators, she was encouraged to further develop her skill as a writer. Roz recently completed her freshman year at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where she is majoring in English. She hopes to start a career in proofreading or editing after graduating.

In her spare time, Roz enjoys playing games with her family and friends, singing, practicing piano, crocheting, reading, and writing for pleasure. You may also find her tubing at the lake, hiking with friends, or taking in a new movie at the theatre.

Roz was able to participate in the 2023 WI Ambassadors of Music Europe trip, which gave her a sense of wanderlust. She is now hoping to study abroad in Europe her Junior year at UWEC and looks forward to exploring as many parts of the world as she can throughout her life.

She is excited to be back in Frederic joining the reporting team at the Inter-County Leader Cooperative for the summer and looks forward to seeing you out and about!

Growing up in a small town with big city urges, Sophie has searched for her passions of writing and photography wherever she could find them. First inspired by her ex-photographer mother at the young age of 12, she quickly discovered her enthrallment for the art and was practically attached to her camera from that point forward. After spending many of her years volunteering in her school and community with these hobbies, Sophie finally applied for a job at the Inter-County Leader following the end of her Junior year at Unity High School.

The youngest of three girls, Sophie spent her childhood looking up to her two older sisters and setting standards for herself as high as she could possibly reach; if they could touch the stars, she hoped to reach the moon. This progressed into the introspective and meticulously persistent personality you may find in her today. Despite her introverted disposition, Sophie’s vivid and contemplative mind is surely portrayed in the confidence of her work.

Having always been an exceptionally passionate and career driven character, Sophie is most often found doing work for school or plotting her next creative project. Though when she isn’t, she’s probably participating in one of the many extra curricular activities that occupy the rest of her schedule, including Future Business Leaders of America, Forensics Speech and Debate, jazz band, freelance photography, and more. With a pure avidity for music and the arts, Sophie loves to spend her spare time immersed in whatever artistic endeavor she can get her hands on.

Through her journey in photography she’s learned to specialize in editorial portraiture, as well as athletic, theater, and event photography. Holding a lifelong reputation among her friends and teachers as a deep and analytical writer, Sophie is frequently known for her curious and thoughtful nature and her intense attention to detail. After years of experimenting in different facets of literature, she’s found a particular interest in poetry and creative fiction.

Sophie is eager to expand her experiences in journalism as she continues to pursue a future career in the creative and publishing industries.

Leader Columnists